There’s a deli with locations in Durham and Chapel Hill that I love. It’s called Foster’s Market, and it has homey food and a solid menu. I have the habit of always ordering the same thing, but I’ll occasionally branch out, and I’ve never been disappointed by anything there.
I’ve recently been browsing The Foster’s Market Cookbook, which contains recipes served there plus extras, and I now question my resoluteness when ordering. Everything sounds great, and it’s difficult to decide what to make first.
Of course, I finally managed to make a decision.
Foster’s Market has a variety of baked goods, and although I’m usually tempted, I hardly ever bite. The market cookbook, however, contains recipes for all of its bakery staples: brownies, all sorts of cookies, pound cakes, cheese cakes and these blondies. The perfect place to start, I think!
Foster’s blondies are loaded with chocolate chips and pecans, but I prefer mine unadorned– blondies with chocolate chips turn out to be chocolate chip cookie bar-like, and I love the caramel-y goodness of blondies too much to make it compete with chocolate.
With a few adjustments (halving the recipe, nixing chocolate, adding a little extra vanilla and baking it in a square pan rather than a sheet pan), I ended up with a delicious, chewy, caramel-y blondie. It really may cause you to have a brownie v. blondie debate the next time you’re looking for a bar cookie–I think the blondie might win that battle for me.
Foster’s Market blondies
slightly adapted from The Foster’s Market Cookbook
makes 16 blondies
Note: Pecans are a great compliment to the caramel bars, but they are fantastic unadorned as well.
I give instructions for the stand mixer here, but it can easily be converted to a hand mixer. When I write 2, mix at medium speed. 1 is low speed.
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
1 ½ pound (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1. Lightly grease a 9 inch square pan. Set aside.
2. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. Cream butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (at 2) with the paddle attachment. Beat until well combined and creamy.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, to creamed butter and brown sugar (at 2 on mixer). Add vanilla and continue to beat until light and well combined.
5. You can do this either by hand or with the mixer.
By hand: Add flour mixture to the butter mixture; combine until the dry ingredients are just incorporated, careful not to overmix.
With mixer: Add flour mixture to butter mixture; stir (1) for 15 seconds. By hand, finish the last bits that need to be incorporated, careful not to overmix.
6. If desired, stir in pecans. Pour batter into the prepared pan, and bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes, until deep golden and a toothpick comes out of the middle clean. Let blondies cool completely before cutting.